Nearly two years after Pennsylvania legalized medical cannabis, the first cannabis dispensaries are set to open in the commonwealth and begin sales this weekend.
Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement that the people of Pennsylvania have been waiting for this moment for years. Now, medical cannabis is legal, is safe, and is now available to those who are suffering from serious medical conditions.
Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law in April 2016, allows medical cannabis to be sold to patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions.
The first dispensary slated to open today is Cresco Yeltrah’s CY+ in Butler. It will be followed by Solevo Wellness Center, located in Squirrel Hill.
These two facilities are currently the onle ones approved to start sales in southwestern Pennsylvania. They will be operating under very tight security as soon as they receive their first medical cannabis shipments from Cresco Yeltrah’s growing and processing facility in Brookville, in Jefferson County.
Other medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to go online in Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, Devon, and Sellersville in the coming weeks.
The state’s Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law in April 2016, allows medical cannabis to be sold to patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions. These qualifying conditions are:
2. Crohn’s Disease
7. Huntington’s Disease
8. Multiple Sclerosis
9. Parkinson’s Disease
10. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
11. Sickle Cell Anemia
12. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
14. Intractable Seizures
15. Damage to the spinal cord’s nervous tissue with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
16. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
17. Severe chronic pain or intractable pain of neuropathic origin
In just less than two years, Pennsylvania has developed a regulatory infrastructure, has certified physicians as practitioners, as well as certified patients qualified to take part in the cannabis program. – Gov. Tom Wolf
The state’s cannabis laws also permit the drug to be sold in the form of pills, tinctures, oils, liquids, topical creams, and forms that can be applied by nebulization or vaporization. Edible and dry leaf forms are not allowed.
Gov. Wolf said that they developed a regulatory infrastructure in less than two years. They have also certified physicians as practitioners qualified to prescribe medical cannabis, as well as certified patients to take part in the cannabis program. Additionally, they have launched a new industry that aims to help thousands of people find relief from debilitating illnesses.
Pursuant to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, patients who need access to medical cannabis first need to visit and create a profile in the Department of Health’s Patients and Caregivers Registry. They will then need to obtain a physician’s certification to prove that they are suffering from one of the qualified medical conditions.
After securing a doctor’s certification, they will need to pay for a medical cannabis ID card before they can purchase the drug from an approved cannabis dispensary.
Caregivers also need to register with the health department and create their own profile on the patient and caregiver registry. Caregivers are either parents of a patient, a legal guardian or spouse of a patient, a person designated by a patient, or a person designated by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian of a patient.
Caregivers will have to undergo a criminal background check and complete a form that gives them authorization to designate a third-party caregiver. They also need to make sure that their patient has obtained patient certification before they can get their own medical cannabis ID card.
The state allows certified caregivers to provide care for only up to five patients.
The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is still illegal in Pennsylvania. However, the possession of small quantities has been decriminalized in some of the state’s major cities.